Titans of Innovation – Scientific Approach to Innovation

There is some merit to the concept of science collaborations having innovation tactics that can benefit the business world because of their unique circumstances. The ability to innovate furiously with the limited resources that they are traditionally given, bring a unique opportunity for business to understand an efficient form of innovation that can be modeled for great success. While the scientific collaborations, such as ATLAS at CERN, do not have to contend with customers or supply chains, the ability to generate innovative new ideas with limited grant money is astonishing and is a valuable skill that business can utilize.

While no two big experiments by international science collaboration groups are exactly alike they all share important characteristics that are inherent with innovation in business. They have a clear cut goal to achieve with a fix amount of resources. The individual design decisions are also delayed as long as possible to allow the project to become more developed and cost less overall. In contrast, business innovation traditionally tries to choose the solution early that will work and then stick with it.

The other large difference stems from the open ridicule that these large scientific projects garner. With the scientific process being one of criticism and defence, this works in the favor of developing the innovation with the toughest skin. The constant questioning and various creative inputs helps to round out the solution while it is mainly still conceptual. Each of the scientists is working in an open innovation environment that is drawing on the collective creative of their entire peer review network. This creative drive is very valuable when applied to science based problems and can be extremely profitable when applied to an innovation cycle in business.

Top companies from around the world are employing scientists to help them solve problems by innovating solutions. With their experience producing results with limited resources a PhD can be more valuable than an MBA in the innovation department. If the PhD is sufficiently motivated and the innovation is within their wheelhouse, they will find a solution; usually coming in under budget as well. The important aspect of scientific innovation that has to be present for this to be transferrable is framing the problem in a way that it is interesting to try to solve it. If there is some piece of knowledge or concept beyond merely profits, then scientists will devote a lot of brain power to the task.

Keeping the innovation team or process focused and interested will allow them to create better innovations with less resources. This may come down to how you frame the problem that needs to be solved and how interested the creative team is on that particular innovation. Hiring PhDs may seem like the solution but you should make sure that they project is interesting enough to hold their attention.

Part 3 – On the Ways and Means of Network Marketing: People in Pursuit of a Dream

In 2000 I was finishing up my degree in Physical and Health Education at the University of Toronto and had been working as a personal trainer for about 6 months. Since the club I worked at was located in the same shopping mall as a Chapters Book Store, I would often spend my breaks between clients reading inspiring books.

One of the earlier books I picked up was called Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Not only did this book educate me about the ways in which the mind can lead us, it inspired me to begin Dreaming. Until that time, my life had been one of automatic movements – the treadmill of life had me moving along through high school, and then University. I had not been faced with the reality of conscious, directive, choice; although I had chosen to go to University, once enrolled, my life was basically locked in for the next 4 years.

Managing my mind was something I had taken for granted. And while I knew I could control and change my thoughts, directing those thoughts in a consistent and disciplined manner was an exercise I had not undertaken.

Enter – Napoleon Hill.

Mr. Hill points out in his book the compelling notion that a man becomes what he thinks most about. He can choose to fill his thoughts with despair, negativity, and hopelessness, or he can illuminate his mind with wonderful and bright ideas of change, growth, and new experiences. Because I had been responding to my thoughts as if they were directing me, this concept of being able to resume the driver’s seat and explore big ideas was exciting.

I began to consider; if I could do something amazing, something inspiring, something life changing and deeply fulfilling, what would it be? Would I write books, start a business, or travel the world? Would I make music, or sing, or dance? Would I help others by innovating a unique product or service? What would I create if I set my mind loose to Dream a Big Dream?

And that ignited within me the practice of entertaining ideas about how I would spend my future. Interestingly, and almost 5 years later to the day, I was introduced to a multi-billion dollar industry called network marketing. But what I have missed most since leaving the field is the fact that network marketer’s know how to dream. Whether it’s dreaming of financial freedom, dreaming of working for oneself, or dreaming of helping hundreds or thousands of people change their lives, network marketer’s aren’t afraid to dream.

People who aren’t afraid to dream are inspiring. They have decided that their life has value, and because of that, they deserve to become and do what they have created within themselves.

Sometimes dreaming can be scary; we become afraid that we won’t achieve the object of our desires. We become concerned that others will offer support in the form of, “I told you it wouldn’t work”. We become paralyzed by the fear of not getting things just perfect, and in the process, we succeed in not taking even a single step toward a life that could be deeply enriching and ultimately fascinating.

We become entrenched in the grind of day-to-day, subsumed by the lethargic energy of those around us who too seem to have forgotten that, by altering their thoughts and reflecting for a moment or two on a larger vision of themselves, they might achieve something Great.

We become consumed by that nagging little voice called self-doubt; at every little turn, he seems to know just what to say to keep us locked, stuck, small. He won’t seem to allow us to believe that we are meant to be good, and that we do deserve to find fulfillment through our work and relationships.

You can…

You will…

You must Begin…in order to Become.

Know this; the moment you set in your mind a goal to be achieved, life will test your power to see if you have the necessary inner reserves required for the Realization of that goal. Dreams, as with Truth, do not come cheaply. They do not roll over and cock their head for just anyone. They do not offer themselves without first knowing that you are serious, and that you will respect them.

That is why making our dreams come true is a process. It functions much as a relationship, edging forward in time, each side feeling the other out, building trust, deepening communication, seeking to know that if they reveal themselves through vulnerability, that you will not abandon them at the halfway point.
No, Dreams are too important to be dealt with so casually. When we diminish our capacity for Dreaming, we lose a part of ourselves, a part of what it means to be human.

Dreams will not take a chance on a half-committed heart, any more than you will reveal yourself to someone who has one foot in your direction and the other foot pointing toward someone else.
Dreaming is not some pie-in-the-sky escape from reality; it is about allowing your heart and mind to imagine what life could be…what life can be.

Dreaming is about reconnecting with the innocence of childhood, revisiting the outside-the-box thinking of adolescence, and blending in a dose of the reality of adulthood.

Imagine…a young boy from Stratford Ontario from a single mom…now living his Dream, sharing what is in his heart and soul, performing for millions of people across the globe. Enter Justin Bieber. Had he not made the choice to sit out front of the Stratford theatre strumming his guitar for eager theatre goers, night after night, his life may have taken a very different path. But he chose courage.

Imagine…an awkward University kid innovating a compelling way to connect people through the web. Enter Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook is today valued in the billions.

Imagine…a young boy who was the product of rape, struggling to understand the meaning and purpose of his life, and now through his television show, generating millions worldwide to feed starving children across the globe. Enter James Robinson.

You may have believed that your life has no meaning…that you are meant to remain addicted, depressed, anxious, and small. But you have a choice. Sometimes you may feel as if you have no choice at all. But if you are to reclaim your power and discover who you can become, you must begin to accept that you have choice.

You can choose to find the courage to strum your guitar out front of the Stratford theatre for passersby, or you can choose to stay at home and play video games.

You can choose to conceive of innovative ways to connect people through the web, or you can choose to remain anxious and depressed.

You can choose to believe that because you were born as a result of your mother being raped that you have no value, or you can develop a relationship with God and let him work through you to feed starving children everywhere.

These things, and many more, exist for you too. You may have a hard time believing this because of what others have told you to believe about yourself. But don’t let the pain and limitation of another become your legacy. If you do, they win, and you lose.

Use the energy of frustration and anger and sadness to drive you into action, to drive you toward understanding and resolving your personal challenges. Thousands have experienced severe anxiety, and thousands have learned to master it. Thousands have suffered from debilitating dis-eases, and thousands have overcome them. Thousands have been stuck in a spin cycle of addiction for decades, and thousands have learned to find peace and happiness.

You can too…if that is what you choose to commit to. You have to decide for yourself what your life will become.

Perhaps it is time to stop believing you are inadequate, and dys-functional, and incapable, and write a new story. Perhaps it is time to Dream of something Greater for yourself, and so long as you stay the course, the answers will reveal themselves at the appropriate time and not a moment sooner.

Figure out what needs to be done, and begin doing it. Today. Right now. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll experience the benefits.

Stay Well My Friends.

Timothy Gauthier

The Samsung Shark 2 – Yesterday’s Design With Today’s Innovations

If you prefer a slider phone with today’s innovations, the Samsung Shark 2 is the mobile slider phone for you. This slider was ingeniously designed by Samsung for mobile ease of use and the ability to easily put the phone away when not in use. This is the beauty of slider phones.

The Compact Advantages OF Sliders

There is a reason why slider mobile phones have been around for a long time. This type of mobile phone allows you to turn the phone into a more compact form when it is not in use. This allows you the convenience of just placing the phone in a more secure place like your pocket.

Unlike a lot of phones in the market today, they may have all the modern innovations technology has to offer, but are too bulky. It’s either you have to purchase a special pouch, or you have to hold the phone at all times.

The Shark 2 by Samsung has all the design features of sliders we have been use to with a lot of modern innovations. This simply means that when you get the Samsung Shark 2, you do not need a lot of time getting accustomed to the way the phone works.

Modern Innovations

One prerequisite of today’s mobile phones is high speed internet. This phone will not disappoint. You can easily access your emails, enjoy fast downloads, enjoy fast uploads, browse, and visit your favorite social network. With this phone, you get quick access to the internet in the palm of your hand.

Another standard of modern mobile phones is a camera. This phone has more. Equipped with a 5 MP camera, LED flash, AF, and an assortment of image enhancers, your captured images will surely be high quality images. Since this phone has quick access to the internet, you can share your captured images or videos on your chosen social network.

When it comes to business features, the Samsung Shark 2 will not fall short on features. This phone comes with a document viewer, an offline mode, Bluetooth printing, voice mail, voice memo, and easy access to your business emails.

When fun is concerned, this phone has everything you will need for entertainment. It can playback an assortment of audio formats, it has its own FM radio, and you have the luxury of recording tracks from the radio. When it comes to games, this phone has preinstalled games that you will surely enjoy.

With this phone, you will never get lost and confused in its features. The Samsung Shark 2 has yesterday’s design with today’s innovations.

Banking Innovation: What’s the Same, What’s Different, In the Developed and Developing World

If there wasn’t enough focus on it already, the financial crisis has taken innovation to the top of most banks’ agendas. In mature as well as emerging markets, banking institutions are differentiating their value proposition from that of their competitors by innovating upon their offerings, benefiting both customers and the organization in the process.

The pursuit of globalization and global standardization by banks has meant that innovations that originate in a particular region make their way quickly across the world, so that banking customers everywhere enjoy a similar, if not the same, usage experience.

That being said, there are many differences in the way that banks from the developed and developing worlds innovate, arising from other fundamental differences in their respective markets. The nature of these factors and their causative impact on innovation differentiation is discussed below:

Market Maturity

A research report presented by The Asian Banker and Finacle from Infosys on the innovation trends and practices in Asia made an interesting observation about how banks go through successive stages of innovation – from Product to Sales to Market Share to Customer Service Innovation – depending on market maturity. Therefore, while banks in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and rural China and India, which have large unbanked segments focus on introducing basic products, their counterparts in the competitive Australian, Singapore and Hong Kong Markets are more intent on defending their market share by providing accessibility, convenience and cheaper distribution.

Customer Universe

Given the high penetration of banking services amongst developed nations, a bank operating in those markets can only grow its market share at the cost of another. On the other hand, developing countries house the majority of the 2 billion-strong global unbanked population and hence have more room for growth and relatively less aggressive competition. Here, banks can grow along with the market by bringing those without financial access into the net of basic banking services.

Although financial inclusion is a much larger priority – and opportunity for innovation – in emerging economies, it does not mean that it has no place in mature markets. In fact, the U.S. alone was estimated to have over 70 million unbanked/underbanked people in 2009. However, the nature of the problem is quite different there. Financial exclusion in the developing world is essentially on account of poor branch penetration in rural or remote areas, whereas in developed countries it is quite often, a voluntary decision or the result of inability to meet KYC norms – the Hispanic immigrants living in the United States are a classic example of this phenomenon, choosing to rely on informal networks or carriers rather than on a bank to send money home.

High Net Worth Segment

In every banking market around the world, High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) are top-drawer. Because the financial elite come in small stable numbers, (even in 2020, the U.S., which has the most HNWI, will have less than 21 million millionaire households) acquiring such customers in both developing and developed markets is usually a matter of poaching them from rival banks. Also, since the ultra-rich are the same everywhere, having similar needs, wealth managers and private bankers in both the developed and developing world follow a largely similar approach while serving these customers. A key difference however, is that the HNWI segment is growing faster in emerging markets thanks to their rising prosperity as a result of which their mass affluent are turning rich and the already rich are turning richer quicker than their mature market counterparts. This is creating more opportunities for innovation in emerging nations.

Telecom and Payments Infrastructure

The well-established telecommunications and payments infrastructure of the developed world facilitates banking transactions over multiple channels, such as the phone, ATM, POS terminal, Internet and mobile, and payments through several additional modes including cards, giros and third party payment gateways like PayPal. Unfortunately, such facilities are either missing or very poorly developed in developing countries – infrastructure for financial transactions is still in its infancy and only a limited number of payment options exist.

However, with mobile networks penetrating remote corners of the developing world that still lack basic channels of banking and communication, the mobile phone is emerging as a viable mode of payment and financial transaction. Banking innovation in many emerging economies is focusing on mobile phone-based services, albeit of a basic variety. On the other hand, in the sophisticated mobile markets of the developed world, it’s the Smartphones and tablets that are taking banking innovation towards augmented reality, location-based services, contactless payments etc.

The most interesting contrast though, is that while the infrastructure of developed countries has enabled high-end innovation, it has mostly brought incremental change, whereas in the developing world, the absence of infrastructure has forced industry players to look for breakthrough, at times disruptive, solutions. The development and success of M-PESA, a mobile phone-based money transfer service in Kenya is a perfect example of the latter.

Customer Need

In many emerging economies, a sizeable majority of people are first or second generation banking customers and therefore, relatively new to such services. Therefore, the product and service expectations of these customers are quite different – and dare we say, less evolved – than those of mature market customers, which has a strong bearing on innovation.

Branch banking is a classic example of this difference. Bank branches located in emerging markets are mainly concerned with processing a large number of small-ticket transactions as efficiently as possible. They are interested in innovations that cut cost, improve productivity or ramp up scale at the branch. In contrast, branch banking is on the decline in mature markets, where customers use electronic channels to conduct routine transactions. In these markets, branches are focused on delivering financial advice and high-end services; therefore, their innovation priorities revolve around improving customer experience within the branch.

Legacy Burden

In a 2010 survey of banks in Europe, Middle East and Africa presented jointly by the European Financial Marketing Association and Finacle from Infosys, nearly two out of three respondents from the mature markets of West Europe said that inflexible legacy systems posed a barrier to innovation. Indeed, this is symptomatic of the banking industries of most developed nations, which are struggling to implement new ideas, hindered by their burden of legacy. For instance, in the U.S., the legacy infrastructure supporting card transactions is so widespread that replacing it in order to switch to new robust EMV card technology is both prohibitively expensive and extremely difficult to implement. On the other hand, adopting new technology is much simpler in the developing world, which is unhindered by legacy issues. Not only that, freedom from legacy has also allowed banks in developing countries to come up with unique products that were unheard of in the rest of the world.

Cost of Innovation

It is found that the cost of implementing a completely new system in the developing world is lower than that in the developed one. Often, the developed world has heavy investments in an existing technology and an inventory of infrastructure on which the return is yet to be fully realised. The developing world has no such legacy investment in infrastructure to worry about, and hence innovations are comparatively cost effective.

The tables are turned in the case of incremental innovation, which typically works around existing infrastructure or investments – available in the developed world, but not in the developing. Therefore, in order to adopt or innovate upon something that isn’t totally new, the developing world may first need to make sizeable investment in basic infrastructure.

Legal and Compliance Issues

Compared to emerging economies, mature markets face tougher legal and compliance requirements that could be a constraint while innovating. The former not only have a more permissive regulatory environment, but also less harsh liability norms, making it easier for banks to experiment, and if unsuccessful, withdraw quickly without suffering too much damage. This would not be possible in a country like the U.S., for instance, where there is a high likelihood of severe public backlash should an innovation fail. It is therefore no surprise that many multinational banks including HSBC, Citibank, and Standard Chartered pilot innovations in the developing world before taking them elsewhere.

What is common?

Differences apart, the two worlds do have some things in common. Both encounter similar challenges while trying to establish a culture of innovation, namely resistance to change, misalignment between business and technology teams, and lack of unanimity of purpose. Similarly, all banks in all markets face budgetary constraints, made worse by the financial crisis.

There’s another ‘peculiar’ commonality between developed and developing world banking innovation, which is that some ideas, particularly in the realm of payments, which are well suited to one world are quite irrelevant in the other. For instance, NFC technology, which has made a big impact in Japan – by enabling tap and go mobile payments – and is gathering momentum in many developed countries, is likely to be a slow-starter in emerging economies on account of the infrastructure that it calls for. Likewise, mobile money transfer, a super hit amongst the unbanked classes of Africa and South Asia, may gain marginal acceptance at best in say, Western Europe or Australia. Ironically, in their respective worlds, these mobile payment innovations are happening at break-neck pace!

Conclusion

While local and cultural variations will continue to create some differences between banking innovation in different countries (even McDonalds has a separate menu for certain countries!) for at least a while, connectivity and globalization will pull in the opposite direction to spread many other innovations from one part of the world to another, sometimes in real time. Therefore, in future it is more likely that an innovation will get picked up, replicated, adapted, improved and transported much faster than before. The consolidation and standardization of systems, processes and products by global banks will further this trend of global relevance. Also, much of the developing world will evolve into a developed state, erasing many of the differences that exist today. That being said, institutions that are rooted locally will continue to practice localized innovation as a way of differentiation.

Innovation and Organisational Networks

Typically an organisation chart shows control or seniority, it does not show how the organisation actually works. On a daily basis people communicate with each other, give advice and provide support for each other. These factors are mirrors for the organisational culture that exists and hence a determining factor in the ability of an organisation to innovate. It would therefore be useful to have a measure of the extent of the advice, trust and communications networks.

For a simple case each individual can be given a diagram of their whole organisation or team and asked to draw on the links for each of the three networks mentioned. This could prove cumbersome for larger groups and so it might be sufficient to determine a) the number of colleagues that an individual communicates with regularly and b) the number of other individuals that they have in each of their networks. All 3 types of network have a part to play, however if they are not well aligned or differ significantly from the organisation chart then major problems are likely to exist. Further problems may occur if they are not evenly distributed or there are significant bottlenecks. This data can also be used in other ways e.g. if you are considering using a particular individual as a change agent, make sure that they figure in most peoples’ trust and advice networks!

Communications Network – consider the largest group of people that an individual communicates with on a daily basis. Such communications can be written, verbal or electronic. It is also useful to identify if individuals communicate with people outside of their normal working groups and whether they have any formal responsibility for doing so. A network such as this carries significant amounts of traffic, some of it idle chat. However, it is often the case that random events within this network stimulate significant innovation events.

Trust Network – within any organisation there are networks of people with whom others are willing to share political information, company secrets or provide support in a crisis. A trust network is thus a very important part of an organisation, particularly in the areas of motivation and morale. Problems here are indicative of trouble ahead if it has not already surfaced. Symptoms may occur during times of great change e.g. merger, takeover and redundancy or as a result of years of neglect. In all cases, innovation (which relies on intrinsic motivation) will suffer.

Advice Network – an individual’s advice network consists of those whom they give advice to and receive advice from. This is restricted to technical advice or advice on solving problems and is not concerned with personal problems. It is this network that carries the knowledge that is concerned with solving crucial business dilemmas.

From Irritation to Innovation

Elizabeth Holmes hates needles. To her, the idea of being poked by a needle and withdrawing blood is more than just unpleasant. When she knows that she has to give blood, she becomes consumed and overcome with the thought until it’s finally over.

So it should be a surprise that at age 19 she founded Theranos, a ground-breaking blood diagnostics company that 11 years later is worth more than $9 billion. The company has patented its secret technology of performing 200 different blood tests (soon growing to over 1,000 different tests) without using a syringe. They use a few drops of blood drawn using a finger stick to minimize discomfort, and collected in a “nanotainer”; a container the size of an electric fuse. Her board is stocked with powerful blue chip members including former cabinet secretaries, former U.S. senators and former military brass. Theranos’ innovative technology is poised to transform health care technology at no more than half the cost of similar tests using current technology.

Holmes leveraged a process that irritated her to innovate a new method of getting it done.

Productive Dissatisfaction

Tony Fadell was building a vacation home in for his family. One of the seemingly mundane decisions was selecting thermostats, but he wasn’t satisfied with his choices. So he developed the Nest Learning Thermostat, a digital and WiFi enabled device that conserves energy by learning it’s owners habits. He also designed the Nest Protect which uses new technology to detect smoke and carbon monoxide.

Fadell’s real goal is to use technology to redesign and control all technology in the home. He was successful in raising startup capital as a result of his Apple pedigree, and extensive connections in Silicon Valley. He previously led the team that created the iPod, thereby rejuvenating Apple and transforming the music industry (yes, I love iTunes), and assisted in the development of the iPhone. Fadell left Apple in 2008 (along with his wife who was an HR executive there) and his thermostat irritation became the epiphany to innovate his next career move. As evidence of his success, Nest was purchased by Google earlier this year for $3.2 billion.

Innovation Mindset

Holmes and Fadell were irritated by processes and technology that others accepted as status quo. Obviously this wasn’t just a minor irritation either. Most of us would have dismissed it, avoided it, complained a bit while it was on our minds, then moved on to what we believed were more important things. We would think that change wasn’t needed, or that technology couldn’t effectively be applied to it and scaled for use. Instead, they saw it as a challenge and took the opportunity to do something about it. They had a mindset for innovation that they applied to their environment.

At the time, Holmes was a sophomore at Stanford, and according to her chemical engineering professor, viewed complex technical problems differently than other students. She dropped out shortly thereafter and persuaded her parents to invest her education fund into the business start-up.

Fadell’s tenure at Apple was distinguished by asking lots of questions, challenging Steve Jobs, and building his network in the “valley” outside the company; something normally reserved for Jobs himself. He didn’t conform to the typical concept of the Apple executive.

The Key to Innovation

So what is the key to your innovation? What is it that irritates you, but you find it difficult to simply walk away or ignore it. Instead, you keep trying to figure it out. This may be your opportunity to move from irritation to innovation; to find new approaches to address old ways of doing things. Though Holmes and Fadell applied innovation on a large scale, you can easily do this within a smaller sphere of influence; in your work team, organization, community group or family. Here are a few simple steps.

1. Tap into what’s irritating you. What problem needs to be solved? Chances are it’s right in front of you.

2. Find the benefit. Who will it add value to? Identifying your stakeholders will help you to target what action to take, and encourage you to stick with it for their benefit.

3. Ignore the naysayers. What do you believe is possible? If you don’t have faith in yourself, no one else will either.

4. Identify all the assumptions associated with the status quo. Why do people do it this way? Calling them out individually helps to break the innovation opportunity down into workable sizes for better analysis.

5. Methodically challenge each assumption. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? By the time you’ve asked “why” five times, you’ll uncover some suppositions that really don’t have a strong foundation.

6. Think of a new approach. What if we did it this way instead? Then think of another different approach. This practice gets you into the mode of change.

If you’re really irritated, true innovation will typically involve transformation, not evolution. It will yield a totally unexpected outcome that represents a leap ahead, not just a step forward. So embrace that impatience and exasperation with the current situation, and press forward to a new mindset of innovation.

Read more about Elizabeth Holmes and Tony Fadell in the June 12, 2014 issue of Fortune Magazine.

Accelerating the Pace of Innovation With Collaboration

Innovation is one of the most useful attributes that a company can have and CEOs across every industry are always looking for the latest ways to expand this aspect of their companies. With increasing global competition, and the rapidly accelerating pace of business, innovation is often the only tool that can give companies the boost that they need to be competitive.

The increase in technology and computing power has brought about a leveling of the innovation playing field, as more and more businesses are able to capitalize on the rapid testing and implementation of their ideas. With all of the leading software companies bringing out newer, faster tools that can be leveraged for innovation purposes, there has been a shift in resources going from traditional research and development to customer focused -even participatory- innovation. By focusing on what the customer wants/needs and getting it in their hands as quickly as possible, the companies are able to make the changes that their customers want and iterate towards the perfect product more effectively.

Collaboration with the customers, peers, and even competitors, allows companies to take their innovation efforts to new heights. By working together in collaboration, the pace of innovation is accelerated in three distinct ways: making the challenges well known to everyone involved; shorter iteration process as the ideas can be tested and implemented faster; and leveraging the creativity of everyone that is at an arms length. Using collaboration then becomes the most efficient way to accelerate innovation and move a company further ahead if its competition.

Working closely with your customer base or a competitor may not seem like the best strategy because of intellectual property (IP) issues, but creatively working around these barriers will allow you to increase innovation to a rate where this isn’t a problem. Often by sharing the partial ideas with extended networks, as long as you have a plan, will allow the organization to develop and iterate on the idea much more quickly. By developing quickly the companies limit the exposure of their IP and can get it to market before anyone else has a chance to do any real harm.

Innovation is the key to not only surviving but thriving in this rapidly expanding global business arena. Using collaboration efforts effectively will allow your company to harness the true power of innovation and bring your best ideas to life faster than otherwise possible. Leveraging the group, even if it is just a few extra minds, can allow the iterations to be faster and more focused for better results.

When the Innovation Well Runs Dry

Many large companies have been innovating for years with great success by not only creating and launching new products, but creating new product categories. The problem is that for a lot of these larger companies they have been responding to the difficult economic times by reducing the amount that they spend on innovation, which is resulting in far less meaningful innovations. Relying on any business strategy without innovating on the possible negative outcomes is a dangerous process that many large companies tend to make if they get complacent. By reducing the innovation spend they aren’t allowing their highly creative innovation teams to drive the solution and work on a possible blockbuster innovation.

Drawing on the unique experiences and expertise of various people within the organization allows companies to leverage the creative potential and reduce the cost of innovation. Focusing on the solution and then letting all of these people come up with ideas is a great start, but there needs to be a process in place to make sure that they ideas can be tested and implemented in a resource effective way. The economic future may be unstable but using all of the creative resources that are available with the company will allow these large innovation factories to restart and to once again pump out innovative consumer products.

It is important to balance the innovation of new products with the iterations and improvements on existing products for best results. In times of economic plenty it is often the case that companies shift their resources to innovating new products, but the focus shifts when the economics are a little more turbulent as they tend to be conservative and just iterate on their existing line. For best results independent of the economic climate, a balanced approach should be used that cycles periods of new innovation with improvements and iterations.

Introducing other means of innovation can be a cost and resource effective way to continue producing ideas and solutions. Some of these methods include co-creation with customers, open innovation, or strategic partnerships. Having a strategy that cycles and uses each of these methods that make sense for your business strategy can allow you to innovate in any situation.

When the innovation well starts to run dry up there are plenty of ways to spark new innovative idea, but make sure that you keep as many resources available for innovation will help to keep this from happening. Periodically using your innovation process to create solutions for a more effective process can keep the resources that it requires to a minimum; without sacrificing any of the quality of ideas. If your company is having trouble with internal innovation processes you can leverage your network and introduce even more creative power into your business.

Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra – Home Network Storage on Steroids With TiVo For DVR and Orb For Mobile

The ReadyNAS name has long been known for features and innovation and the latest Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra lineup of home network storage devices continues that tradition. Home media entertainment is certainly driving the feature list of this latest NAS device innovation.

ReadyNAS network attached storage devices already have about every feature you could want in a network storage device of any kind, but the new Ultra Series are adding to the usual Netgear media streaming capabilities with TiVo streaming, DLNA certified machine using Skifta and even many mobile devices using Orb technologies.

Energy efficiency and a sizable increase in performance over older models is accomplished by using the Intel Atom family processor chip in the new Ultra models. The 4 drive bay Ultra 4 is expected to ship with a single core 1.66Ghz Atom and the 6 drive bay Ultra 6 with a dual core processor.

For comparison, the now end of life ReadyNAS NV+ NAS device is just a little over half as fast as the new Ultra 4 is expected to be. And while Netgear seems to be positioning these products for advance home users, especially media enthusiasts, I am sure we will be seeing these powerful and capable units in offices as well.

Later in the fall, Netgear is also expected to release a diskless unit of the new Ultra for folks that either already have hard drives they want to use or feel the need to buy them separately.

With the ReadyNAS Ultra multimedia desktop storage systems, there are a few multimedia streaming “firsts” that Netgear is proclaiming:

1.) First TiVo compatible DVR network archiving and storage device.
2.) First home network storage device with transcoding capabilities from Orb for mobile devices.
3.) First NAS device to use media shifting capabilities from Skifta.

When you add to that the typical RAID network storage protection and the ability to continuously backup all of the home network connected PCs and Macs with Memeo Premium backup this makes for a compelling buy even if the price is a bit higher than some competing products.

Naturally, with the emphasis on home entertainment media storage and streaming, this unit has to have great performance to keep up. The Intel Atom processor is essentially the same CPU used to power many more powerful netbooks; and the dual core version in the ReadyNAS Ultra 6 is particularly enticing.

If your family is like mine at all, then you are starting to accumulate a fairly expensive library of digital entertainment media of all types. So it only makes sense that you want at least two things from it:

First, you want your investment protected.

Second, you want to be able to enjoy your music, photos and movies when and where you want to.

These new Ultra series home network storage devices have got you more than covered on both of these counts.

Honest Review of the Numis Network

Numis Network has been generating a lot of buzz lately. If you’ve stumbled upon this site, chances are you’re probably deciding whether you will try this network or not. Read on so you will have an unbiased perception on the Numis Network. It’s only fair to present you with both the good and bad feedback in order to assist you in making your decision.

Numis Network specializes in selling gold and silver coins, particularly containing numismatic value. The goal is to become the biggest retailer the world over. In fact, the company has already paired up with Mike Mezack. Mezack is a notorious marketer of Numismatics.

You have to realize that Numismatics is a large industry. It earns more than $100 billion every year. Only little is done through the model of the network. Therefore, the territory is unchartered by other companies. You also have to take note that there are so many Numis Network distributors that do not know this. Various MLM companies have tried their hand in selling precious gold and silver coins but not all of them can last as long as they want.

MLM companies need to be educated on the trade of gold and silver coins. If they think that this is an easy business, they are mistaken. If you know how to go around Numis Network, you will definitely make money from your gold and silver coins. If you are having doubts about joining this industry, you shouldn’t worry because a lot of people have already spent a lot of money on the MLM industry. They also regard this as relatively untapped. If this is the network that you choose to participate in, you will see that you will never encounter MLM companies that are considered your competition. You wouldn’t be vouching for the more effective and less expensive coin. Chances are, you already have the coin with you.

Now, here are the downsides. For one, the fixed value product of the coin cannot be marked up. Whatever pay you decide in the Network Marketing, this should be the significant down line already. That is why you have to mark the product up with a fixed market value early on. In that way, the Numis Network does not pay more than what the actual product sales reflect.

Another disadvantage to Numis Network is the product cannot be patented, copyrighted, or innovated. It can be duplicated various times and this will mean loss for the entrepreneur. Therefore, if you are participating in Numis Network, you must be very innovative enough to adjust to what the times is expecting from you. What I see as the biggest disadvantage to the Numis network is the current price of gold and silver. Gold is at an all time high tapping out at over $1000 per ounce. As we all saw with the housing marketing everything has its peaks and valleys. Gold has never been this high in its history and has climbed 60% in the past 6 years, which is historical. Anyone who gets involved in the Numis Network will be buying gold at an inflated price. As with the housing market, gold and silver will surly go down in value as does all commodities. The key is to buy low and sale high. Purchasing gold at today’s market value for a long term investment may prove to be unwise.

Now that you’ve seen the pros and cons of Numis Network, you can make a choice on whether you should join or not. You can make money if you know where to hit and how far to go. You can make it possible for you if you know the value of all your gold and silver coins. You have to understand the business in order for you to get your money back. If you’re really good, you may even get more.